The Week 18 matchup between Colts and Texans has it all but there's one thing missing

The regular-season finale between the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans has a lot of fun factors, but there will be one important factor missing.
Indianapolis Colts v Houston Texans
Indianapolis Colts v Houston Texans / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

On Saturday night, the Indianapolis Colts will host the Houston Texans for a primetime game with a lot on the line. Both 9-7 teams, the winner of the regular-season finale will go to the playoffs and the loser will start the offseason. Considering the fact that both teams had surprising one-year turnarounds under rookie head coaches, the NFL couldn’t have scripted a better storyline.

Truly, Saturday will be the perfect showcase for two teams with extremely bright futures. Houston and Indianapolis won a combined seven games last season and now the franchises are competing for a division championship. The game will see the two leading Coach of the Year candidates, DeMeco Ryans and Shane Steichen, stars like Jonathan Taylor, and young emerging players like CJ Stroud, Josh Downs, and Will Anderson Jr.

Unfortunately, as great as the game will be, it’s hard not to think about who’s missing. Most notably, Colts rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson will not be available to play in this massive matchup.

Colts vs. Texans would be perfect with Anthony Richardson

In a way, Saturday’s matchup is expected to be the first of many important meetings between these two teams moving forward. That is the expectation because both teams have phenomenal first-year head coaches and very promising young quarterbacks. Houston’s rookie quarterback, CJ Stroud, will be playing. Anthony Richardson, however, will be watching from the sideline.

Richardson’s season ended after a sprain to his throwing AC joint required surgery. Prior to that, Richardson had quickly proved that he’d be a problem for the NFL. Part of that evidence was a brief appearance in the first game against the Texans where he had two first quarter rushing touchdowns. With Richardson and Stroud both playing well early, everyone started to think about all of the big games they would play against each other over the next decade or so.

Saturday night was supposed to be one of the early installments of this bubbling rivalry. With all the chips on the table, it still will be an important chapter in the book being written by these two teams, but the plot would have been even better if one the most exciting characters were involved.